English 300 Final Exam, 1915

William Nathan (who I’ve written about before) was a member of the Rice Institute’s first class. We have his scrapbook in the Woodson and it’s been a real source of pleasure for me. Nathan led a very active life as a student and he held on to all kinds of things, from ticket stubs to dance cards to notes from his professors.

William Nathan was also the first Rice student to graduate with honors. His real interest in the life of the mind is also apparent in his scrapbook. He saved most, if not all, of the exams he took at Rice and they provide an extraordinary snapshot of the state of the disciplines and of pedagogy just after the turn of the century. (Unfortunately, his answers aren’t there!) This exam was given in the spring of 1915, when he was a junior, most likely by Professor Stockton Axson. Have a look:

It’s sobering, no?

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6 Responses to English 300 Final Exam, 1915

  1. I like the early version of the Honor Code printed at the bottom of the exam.

  2. Kathy says:

    Yikes! Makes me glad I’m not an undergraduate any more, no matter how much I remember enjoying my English classes. I got sweaty palms just reading those questions!

    • Barbara Eaves says:

      My comment is technical. I can make the image either huge or tiny. Either way it’s not legible. I click on the tiny image and BOOM — it takes four trips across the screen to read one line. I click again and WHOOSH — it’s so small I can’t read it. Any suggestions?
      (Probably ought to take a class in computer use.)

      • Bob Spiro says:

        Check out the following video for instructions on how to zoom screen in and out for both Mac and Windows operating systems.

  3. wunderwood says:

    I also noticed that the pledge was somewhat different. I wonder how and when that changed. I see that the current pledge includes “unauthorized”, something I don’t remember from 1975-81.

    From the current Honor Council constitution: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this (examination, quiz or paper).”

  4. Frank Smith says:

    “Sobering” is putting it mildly! These are my favorite poets, and I would have been lucky to pass! The good part is knowing that I don’t have to worry about that any more…
    Frank Smith

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